By Charles Igwe
During his visit to Portugal for World Youth Day, Pope Francis engaged in an open dialogue with Jesuits from Lisbon, covering a range of topics. He shared insights on the Church’s contemporary challenges and his vision for inclusivity, doctrinal development, and the Synod.
At the heart of the conversation was the theme of inclusivity. Pope Francis emphasized that the Church “has space for everyone,” echoing the rallying cry “Todos, todos” (Everyone, everyone) during World Youth Day in Lisbon. He underlined the importance of creating a space for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Pope called for a pastorally sensitive approach to accompany individuals on their spiritual journeys.
The Pope shared his call to embrace homosexual individuals within the Church, noting the need for a broader perspective beyond solely focusing on sexual transgressions. He recounted an impactful encounter with transgender individuals, highlighting the significance of empathy and reaching out to marginalized communities.
Global concerns about ongoing conflicts were also addressed. Pope Francis expressed deep concern over the persistent prevalence of wars since World War II and stressed the importance of seeking peaceful resolutions.
The dialogue explored tensions within the Church, including resistance to the Second Vatican Council’s tenets. Pope Francis highlighted the evolving nature of Church doctrine, referencing historical shifts on issues such as the death penalty, nuclear weapons, and slavery.
The Pope warned against excessive worldliness infiltrating religious life and compromising core values. He cautioned against succumbing to spiritual worldliness and discussed challenges posed by societal changes, including an “eroticized” ethos and issues like pornography in the digital age.
Lastly, Pope Francis expressed anticipation for the upcoming Synod, aimed at restoring synodality within the Church. He clarified that the Synod’s driving force was the Holy Spirit, guiding deliberations without political bias. The Pope emphasized its goal of meaningful discussion, devoid of a focus on garnering votes.